Shmooze News: Debate Shmebate, Iran’s Reeling Rial, and Nicki Minaj

1. The first presidential debate of 2012 went down on Wednesday (subject: “the economy & domestic policy”) and I can’t even fake enthusiasm, y’all.  But at least I’m in good company… ‘cuz that was definitely Barack Obama’s problem too.  Ooh, snap.  Was it fatigue from running the country in his spare time between debate prep?  Or the attrition of an hour and a half of forced dialogue with a man who literally lied 71% of the time (that’s a conservative calculation based on this amazing stat)?  A friend wrote on facebook, “it’s hard to win an argument with a compulsively lying sociopath,” and I think in theory we can all agree on that one.

But was Obama’s wimpy debate style (literally never calling Romney on any of his lies… otherwise known as NOT DEBATING) actually a strategy?  To avoid being baited by said sociopath, sure, but more to the point: to cast himself at this stage in the three debate cycle as the underdog since Romney surely won’t have as much time to prep for the next ones and everyone will be looking to Obama for a comeback, and he will triumph, and it will be glorious (and well-timed for election day)?  Is Obama playing the long con?  Well, Rachel Maddow would like to think so and if that WAS the deal then: nailed it!  Heh.  But, ehem, the reality is, he probably just tried to remain detached and came across as… detached.  Which, even his advisors agree, sucked.  Especially because Romney, in contrast, came across as emotionally connected and passionate (ok, caffeinated), and not just in style but in content.  He forcefully countered Obama’s plans for the economy AND offering a sane-sounding centrist-type alternative.  Okay, most of it the Romney from one day prior never would have agreed with (way to pull a fast one, man!).  And okay, a bunch of the “facts” he memorized to use as evidence against Obama weren’t facts in the traditional sense of the term (he’s already begun admitting to a few of ’em) — but damn did he sell it, landing his lines like a pro.  So, yup, he totally won the debate and yup, he might be eligible for an Emmy.

But at what cost?  A) Future Romney’s gonna have a lot of ‘splaining to do (like, seriously, who is this guy with the new centrist platform?  How long will he stick around?  Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?).  And B) He offered very few specifics on how he would enact his suggested magical fixes to the economy that would lower the deficit but require no new taxes for the middle class.  And I say very few, because there was kinda only one…  Cut PBS.  And you do not want to fuck with the Sesame Street gang or their fans.  Apparently for a while there on debate night twitter counted 17,000 tweets PER MINUTE about Big Bird.  Just sayin’.

But wait!  Maybe Obama debated so poorly just ‘cuz of altitude sickness!  In defending the president’s debate performance, Al Gore offered what sounds like the biggest cop-out in history, but the thing is… eh?  Maybe it’s true.  Gore does know a thing or two about changing climates.  HA.  Samara, move on.

2. From a bad economy to a worse one: Iran is seriously suffering.  Thanks to its holocaust-denying, nuclear-weapon-loving (true sociopath?) mess of a president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s on shaky ground with pretty much everyone… and that affects what the country is allowed to import & export (“sanctions”)… and that affects their poor, beleaguered currency, the rial.  Ahmadinejad’s domestic economic policies are partly to blame but this bigtime pressure from other countries is debilitating Iran — and he’s not backing down on his nuclear plans and his people are paying the price.  This week the rial dropped by 40% — and that’s 80% total over the year.  Which is A LOT.  For middle class Iranians, with lives similar to our own — kids traveling & studying abroad, internet start-ups, hopes & dreams — this has been just shattering.  We’ll see if the bursts of rioting grow into anything larger and Ahmadinejad backs down… but outlook not so good.  Unless he’s just totally overthrown, which actually could happen with all the enemies he’s made even inside the Iranian regime.

3. And for a whole other kind of violence… oh, Nicki Minaj.  She crazy.  And not just I-make-performance-art-that-borders-on-exorcism crazy.  Like, I-threaten-to-shoot-people crazy.  And then repeat the threat on twitter to make sure everyone’s heard.  Her target is Mariah Carey, who’s her co-judge on the latest version of the American Idol panel.  Yes, Mariah is famously divalicious in her contractual needs — which, according to a New York Post report (and they never sensationalize — har har), have included:

such necessities as baskets of puppies, furniture with “no busy patterns,” “vases of white roses” and a “tea service for eight.” She once insisted, “I don’t do stairs,” […and required] “confetti shaped like butterflies” as well as 20 white kittens at a London appearance.

But that’s not quite justification for death threats.  What are the bigger implications here, guys?  Is it the public’s fault because we’re the ones who tune in to watch dying TV shows if there’s even a whiff of fresh blood?  It occurs to me, of course, that I’m part of the problem by promoting this story and yes, I could boycott her from my blog (impose sanctions if you will), but really the point here is to cover what people are talking about… not just what they should be talking about if they all  had clear eyes about what’s in their best interest.

The Most Interesting Man in the World no Match for the Horrors of Nicki Minaj

But despite The Most Interesting Man’s aversion to her, Nicki Minaj has gotten herself 14 MILLION twitter followers.  Give the people what they want… and hope they learn over time it’s not what they want?  Perhaps — perhaps — in the court of public opinion Romney’s lies, Ahmadinejad’s mercilessness, and Nicki’s trigger-happy provocations, will doom them, long term.  When we all wake up to what IS in our best interest.  Little bloggers can dream.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK, an appropos reminder a la Carl Jung:

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart … Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”

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